• Dance
  • Specialization

Foundation Program with Dance Specialization

A specialized program for dancers and dance students using kinesiological principles to enhance technique and reduce injury risk

The Foundation and Comprehensive Apparatus Programs with Dance Specialization are the result of a unique and exciting collaboration between former dancer and choreographer Rael Isacowitz and Karen Clippinger, former dancer with a masters degree in exercise science who is a Professor in the Department of Dance at California State University, Long Beach.

This specialized program for dancers and dance students uses kinesiological principles to enhance technique and reduce injury risk. It builds on the dancer's high level of physical proficiency, keen attention to alignment and focus on technique.

The Foundation Apparatus Program with Dance Specialization covers the six modules developed by Rael Isacowitz that are taught in the Standard Foundation Apparatus Program at other host locations. These modules include Pilates Mat Work, as well as fundamental and intermediate Pilates repertoire on the Reformer, Cadillac, Wunda Chair, emphasizing their kinesiological basis and effective cueing. In addition, these modules provide an overview of the skeletal system and muscular system; an introduction to the BASI Block System®; basic principles of alignment and core stability; and examples of exercises adapations.

This specialized program also includes dance-specific principles and repertoire (mat and Pilates apparatus) developed by Karen Clippinger to help improve key areas such as core stability and range, extensions, arabesques and turnout. While some of this repertoire is primarily appropriate for dancers, figure skaters, and gymnasts; other exercises can be used with general populations for fun and variety.

Taught by Karen Clippinger, this program is structured in a summer intensive format and held at California State University, Long Beach, to aid attendance by students, educators and out-of-town participants. The Foundation Program is 11 days long and includes lecture, exercise demonstrations, practice, review, testing and one-day break for study. The Comprehensive Apparatus Program with Dance Specialization follows the Foundation Program, after a short break that is provided for study, observation and practice. A BASI Certificate with Dance Specialization requires successful completion of both the Foundation and Comprehensive Apparatus Programs with Dance Specialization.

Due to the intensive format of these programs, prior Pilates and dance experience is highly recommended, as well as basic understanding of anatomy.

To learn more about our programs, download the BASI brochure.

Upon successful completion of the program, you will be able to:

  • Understand and apply the basic principles of Pilates in exercise demonstration and teaching.
  • Identify and provide the primary actions of key muscles of movement.
  • Recognize common postural deviations and provide cues for improvement of functional components of these conditions.
  • Analyze and understand key fundamental and intermediate Pilates exercises, based on anatomical and biomechanical principles.
  • Provide modifications and assists for key Pilates exercises needed for common individual limitations and goals.
  • Understand the components of the Block System®.
  • Demonstrate with adequate proficiency and effectively teach a wide range of fundamental and intermediate-level classic Pilates exercises, original BASI exercises and dance-specific exercises on the Mat, Reformer, Cadillac and Wunda Chair. 
  • Describe unique dance-specific core and lower body strength and flexibility demands.
  • Provide sample progression to assist with the transfer from isolation strength exercises to functional dance movements such as extensions and the arabesque.
  • Identify common errors, utilize technique cues and provide select exercises to aid the dancer with optimizing turnout.

*Program is offered once a year in Long Beach, CA, USA.

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program modules

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Day 1 - The Fundamentals

Primary concepts covered include the 10 movement principles of the Pilates method, an overview of the pelvic region and Pilates breathing. A historical overview of Pilates is presented, plus the BASI® approach, and the importance of safety when teaching Pilates are discussed. An introduction to special considerations when working with dancers is provided. Repertoire taught and practiced includes fundamental Reformer exercises and dance-specific abdominal exercises. A one-hour mat class for dancers is taught.

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Day 2 - Anatomy Overview – Part 1

An anatomy overview is presented that includes: anatomical terminology for movement, types of joints, and the center of gravity. The importance and practice of cueing is discussed. Repertoire taught and practiced includes fundamental Reformer, fundamental Mat, Pole, Ped-a-pul, and dance-specific back extensor exercises. 

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Day 3 - Anatomy Overview (continued)

Repertoire taught and practiced includes intermediate Mat and dance-specific hip extensor exercises. Day 1 and Day 2 repertoire is reviewed with special attention to technique corrections. 

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Day 4 - Anatomy Overview – Part 2

An anatomy overview is continued that includes: bones, bony landmarks, muscles, muscle actions, and types of muscle contraction. The BASI format of teaching is discussed and the Block System, created by Rael Isacowitz, is introduced. Repertoire taught and practiced includes intermediate Mat and Reformer, Leg Weights, and dance-specific hip flexor exercises. A one–hour mat class for dancers is taught. 

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Day 5 - Review/Practice

Repertoire taught on Days 1-4 is reviewed and practiced with special attention to technique and cueing. 

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Day 6 - Posture Assessment

Primary concepts covered are the principles of alignment and posture assessment. Use of the roll down as a tool for assessment is discussed. Repertoire taught and practiced includes intermediate Mat, intermediate Reformer, fundamental Cadillac, and dance-specific hip abductor and hip adductor exercises. The Anatomy Quiz is taken.

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Day 7- Rest and Study Day (No Class)

This day is designated for students to rest and study the material from the previous days on their own.

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Day 8 - Core Strength – Back and Abdominals

Primary concepts covered are core strength and the relationship of the various muscle groups that make up the core with particular focus on the abdominals and the back extensors. Contraindications, effective exercises, and the importance of understanding your client’s needs and body type are discussed. Also addressed are guidelines for successful teaching, including the importance of flow in a session. Repertoire taught and practiced includes intermediate Reformer and dance-specific hip rotator exercises. A one–hour mat class for dancers is taught.

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Day 9 - Exercise Adaptation

A key concept covered is exercise adaptation through the use of assists and modifications. Discussion is focused on how to construct a complete and comprehensive program. Repertoire taught and practiced includes intermediate through advanced Mat, intermediate Reformer, fundamental Wunda Chair, and Magic Circle. Dance-specific exercises are reviewed.

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Day 10 - Review and Testing

The Dance Foundation Final Practical Exam is taken. 

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Day 11 - Review and Testing

Mat exercises are reviewed. The BASI Foundation Final Practical Exam is taken.

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